Posted in random thoughts, religion, Tarot, writing

Thoughts on Mortality

Decks pictured (clockwise from top left) Bohemian Gothic, Sacred Rose, Arcus Arcanum, Starchild, Tarot of Prague, Wild Unknown, Sun and Moon, Wildwood, Alexander Daniloff; center – Alchemists Oracle: Connected and Free, Celestial Stick Figures

I’m inspired to put some thoughts down by a video Katey Flowers posted on YouTube of her year with the “Death” card from the Tarot, and her musings on aging and life and death. I decided to post this here rather than on my Tarot blog because this isn’t necessarily a Tarot post (maybe I’ll cross-post it).

I’m at the age where I spend a great deal of time thinking about death (a great deal) and how much closer I am to my own end than to my beginning. I have far more days behind me than ahead of me. I’ve started planning out what sort of instructions I want to leave for my heirs, make sure they have access to all my accounts, both online and offline. I think about how much crap I have that I need to get rid of to spare my kids having to clean it all out. I think about people I’ve lost so often. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wished my dad was still alive to see some new technology (he was an electronics engineer) or a movie or show I think he would have liked. He died when he wasn’t much older than I am now.

Of course everyone dies, it’s not that I expected to live forever. I don’t actually think about how I might die, that’s not the part that concerns me. It’s the idea of winking out of existence, passing into oblivion, that disturbs me because I have no belief in an afterlife. This is it, here and now. Please spare me any platitudes about the inevitability of dying and accepting with grace. Maybe the day will come when I can, but not now. Right now I feel no more ready to accept that than a teenager. Intellectually I am perfectly aware that the day will come, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’ve lost both of my parents, all my aunts and uncles, a cousin, friends so it’s not like I’ve never experienced losing someone. I know it happens, but that doesn’t change my frustration.

Part of my raging against death may stem from the feeling that I haven’t accomplished anything with my life, that I will never feel done, ready to die. There are so many things I would have liked to have been and done and learned in this life that I will never have the chance for. Maybe that’s why I’m so fascinated with Tarot. I look to the cards for a deeper understanding of the nature of existence, some reason to believe this isn’t all there is. How can we live, exist, breathe, think, be self-aware, and not be able to somehow do something about the terminal nature of life? It seems cruel for the universe to give us the capacity to understand we will cease to exist, doesn’t it? And yes, I understand the contradiction embodied in the idea of seeking a spiritual understanding if I don’t have any belief in an afterlife.

I know I’m not alone in this dread, and that it’s why some people cling to religion, or a belief in ghosts. We’re hoping to find some proof of something beyond this world, that physical death is not really the end. I’ve had unexplained occurrences that seemed ghostly, but they’re not definitive proof. Not yet. I need more.

I guess for now I will continue to search. I’ll let you know if I find enlightenment, or at least acceptance.

I did feel compelled to pull a card from the Druid Plant Oracle, and interestingly got the Celtic Bean, which is associated with death, reincarnation, the ancestors, and the Otherworld. A message?

Posted in art, Office Life, Tarot, writing

Weekly Card – Time for Study?

Page of Pentacles

Once again I was tempted to try a different deck and pull a different card, but I’ve sort of learned to go with whatever comes up. Here we have the Page of Pentacles from the Sacred Rose Tarot by Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman. The art style may seem a little “70s-ish” but that’s to be expected. The deck was first published in 1982. Hmm. Detecting a theme here (tomorrow’s post will also hearken to that year).

So what do we have? Pages are generally indicative of young people, and in this case, a very studious, serious type. He stands on a path strewn with flowers, with a golden rose growing at his feet. The mountains behind him indicate a difficult journey, but the rewards make it worthwhile. I’m taking this as a message that it’s time to hunker down and do some work, some studying (job hunting?), if I want to reap the rewards (of a happier workplace). I know I whine a lot about my job, and if it was just one unpleasant co-worker I could deal with it. But it’s my boss, the person I directly support, who makes it so miserable. She makes it so obvious that she dislikes me, and who wants to be in that kind of atmosphere?

Another indication of this card can be a new job, a new opportunity, so maybe this is the week something will come up. If you’re looking for work, don’t slack this week.

Good week, all!

Posted in Tarot, writing

A Short Primer on the Tarot Death Card

I get a fair amount of traffic on this blog from people looking for Tarot cards, or questions about the Tarot. Yesterday one of the search terms that brought someone here was “Does the Death card always mean a real death?” Since I’ve never actually talked about this, I thought this was a good opportunity to do so.

In short, the answer to the question is “No.” Most Tarotists would tell you that while the Tarot can be literal, this is not usually the case. I’ve personally never predicted anyone’s death by drawing that card, and have in fact drawn the Death card in readings for myself on many occasions, and I’m still here to tell the tale. About the only people I have ever heard try to assert actually predicting a death were a couple of teenagers in chatrooms years ago. These were of course their first readings, after purchasing their first Tarot decks, and whaddya know? They wanted everyone to know they accurately predicted a death! Astounding. Hmm. Yeah. I guess we were all supposed to ooh and ahh over what great psychics they were. Needless to say, those of us who’ve been reading Tarot for more than 20 minutes will never make ridiculous claims like that.

So what does the Death card mean? A shift in consciousness, a transformation, leaving behind an old life and moving on to a new life. It’s a casting off of something that’s no longer useful, it’s a fresh start. Something’s going to have to be let go, left behind. It’s a big shakeup, so it can still be scary, but it can be a seriously good thing.  If someone’s getting a Tarot reading, they generally have some issue they need advice or guidance on. Something’s not right, there’s some problem, so wouldn’t a big change in the offing be a good thing? Sure, it’s probably going to cause some upheaval, but what’s already been going on? Wouldn’t you like to see the end of whatever turmoil has been taking place and be able to move on to a new life, a new situation, a new job? Change is scary, even for me, so I understand feeling squeamish about it. Then again, the biggest changes in my life have always lead (eventually) to much better circumstances.

The Tarot has seen me through some pretty dark days, but always, always with hope for better times. The Tarot does not cause our circumstances, it can only reflect them back to us, and urge us to reexamine our lives and the choices we make. The Death card is one of my Birth Cards, according to the Tarot School, Seems a little contradictory, but I’ve had a lot of changes and upheavals in my life, some desirable, some not so much. Still, forewarned is forearmed, yes? Don’t let anyone freak you out with this card, especially if they just got their first Tarot deck and you’re the first person they’ve done a reading for.